Commuters heading west from Batavia may soon have to contend with yet another highway distraction. An article in the Buffalo News from last week informs us that electronic, television-style billboards will soon be gracing roadsides in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Hamburg and Tonawanda. They will replace the antiquated poster-style billboards in those areas with electronic ones that "beam a new picture every eight seconds." But there's more to these flashy billboards than just invasive marketing opportunities.
The new technology has drawn concern in some communities, while winning applause in others for beaming emergency information to drivers.
Digital signs can quickly replace ads with messages about traffic problems ahead. They can also relay AMBER Alerts about missing children, (Lamar general manager Rich) Dvorak said.
In Minneapolis, a digital billboard alerted drivers about a bridge collapse in 2007 and helped reroute traffic.
“We can react within minutes to get that [emergency] message up,” Dvorak said.
But concerns about distracted driving and neighborhood livability have also surfaced as the electronic signs proliferate, with 1,100 now in use nationwide.
What do you think? Will electronic billboards be worth the distraction?